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Xi calls for 'fortitude' against COVID outbreak in New Year's speech

President hails China's achievements, but economic risks abound in 2023

President Xi Jinping gives his New Year's address on Dec. 31 in Beijing, telling the public that China stands "firm on the right side of history."   © AP

GUANGZHOU -- President Xi Jinping on Saturday urged China to persevere against the COVID-19 pandemic, saying victory is in sight despite the country facing the heaviest outbreaks since those in Wuhan during 2020.

"We have now entered a new phase of COVID response where tough challenges remain," Xi said in his annual New Year's address to the nation televised from his office in Beijing. "Everyone is holding on with great fortitude, and the light of hope is right in front of us. Let's make an extra effort to pull through, as perseverance and solidarity mean victory."

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